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Six Ways to Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee

Six Ways to Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee

Most of us love (require) a good cup (pot) of coffee in the morning, and there are a LOT of different methods to achieve that goal! Turkish, Pour Over, French Press, Cold Brew, Percolator, and Electric Drip are the six techniques we will explore in this article. The experts cannot seem to agree on the BEST method for brewing coffee. The truth is, different brewing methods produce very different results and pair best with different kinds of coffee and roasts. Read on to learn the hows and whys of these six popular brewing methods—then choose what’s right for YOU!

Turkish Coffee

This method is best for a medium roast and a very fine grind (think powdered). It makes a strong and rich brew. You’ll need an ibrik (Turkish decanter), spoon, coffee grinder, measuring cups and spoons, and a heat source. You don’t HAVE to drink this out of Turkish coffee cups, but if you want to, they’re 2.5 oz and kind of like espresso cups but with vertical sides.

  1. Add good quality, room temperature water to your ibrik. You’ll need 2.5 oz of water per serving.
  2. If you want sweet coffee, add 1 tsp of sugar per serving. Let the sugar sink to the bottom and do not stir it.
  3. Add a heaping tsp of finely ground coffee per serving. (You can vary the amount of coffee to your taste preference.)
  4. Put the ibrik on the stove over low heat. Do not stir yet.
  5. Heat for 1-2 minutes, then begin to stir slowly and gently.
  6. Bring the coffee to a gentle boil. Look for the foam at the top.
  7. Remove your ibrik from the heat before it boils over.
  8. Spoon a little foam into each cup, then return the ibrik to the stove.
  9. When froth forms a second time, remove the ibrik from the heat and gently pour into the cups, being careful to preserve the foam (or crema).
  10. The secret to good Turkish coffee is this two-foam method!

Serve Turkish coffee with a glass of water to cleanse the palette before enjoying the coffee.

Pour Over Coffee

This method is best for coffees with a bright flavor. It brings out the more subtle flavors of coffee and yields a more balanced taste than other methods. You’ll need a mug or carafe, cone, paper filter, scale, coffee grinder, measuring cups and spoons, and hot water.

  1. Boil good quality, fresh water, then let it stand for 30 seconds. Your goal is water at 200 degrees F.
  2. To brew 14 oz of coffee, measure 5 Tbsp beans (2.5 standard coffee scoops).
  3. Grind beans to the coarseness of sand. The grind will affect the drip time and flavor extraction, so adjust this step to your taste. A coarser grind will speed up your drip time, while a finer grind will slow it down.
  4. Smooth your paper filter flat and put it in the cone. Rinse the filter with hot water to eliminate paper flavor and preheat the filter, cone, and carafe to keep temperatures consistent.
  5. Discard the hot water.
  6. Put the carafe, cone, and wet filter onto a scale and tare (zero) it. Add 1.5 oz water in a spiral motion, just to saturate the grounds, and wait 30 seconds. This allows the coffee to “bloom” (release carbon dioxide and expand the grounds, resulting in a better and more thorough flavor extraction).
  7. After 30 seconds, resume pouring the water SLOWLY until the scale measures 14 oz. This should take two minutes to do this. Start pouring in a spiral pattern, then pour straight down. Your goal is to keep the grounds fully saturated the entire time and prevent a crust from forming.
  8. Swirl the coffee in the carafe, pour, and enjoy!

French Press Coffee

This method is best for dark roasts. It yields a full-bodied coffee. You’ll need a French press, scale, coffee grinder, measuring cups and spoons, timer, and hot water.

  1. Boil good quality, fresh water, then let it stand for 30 seconds. Your goal is water at 200 degrees F.
  2. Preheat your French press with hot water and let it sit.
  3. To brew 30 oz of coffee, measure 11 Tbsp beans (5.5 standard coffee scoops).
  4. Grind beans to the consistency of coarse sea salt. If the plunger on your French press is too hard to push down, go for a coarser grind next time.
  5. Discard the hot water in the French press.
  6. Put the French press on a scale, add the coffee grounds, and tare (zero) it. Set a timer for 4 minutes, and pour in just enough water to saturate the grounds (about 4 oz).
  7. Swirl the French press, and wait for the coffee grounds to “bloom” (release carbon dioxide and expand the grounds, resulting in a better and more thorough flavor extraction).
  8. After four minutes, resume pouring hot water over the grounds until the scale reaches 30 oz. You want the water in the middle of the French press’s metal band, or about one inch below the rim. Your goal is 1 part coffee to 16 parts water.
  9. Put the plunger over the grounds and slowly push it half way down, then pull it up just below the water’s surface. This keeps the grounds fully saturated the entire time and prevents a crust from forming.
  10. Let it sit for four minutes, then press the plunger to the bottom.
  11. Pour your coffee and enjoy!

Cold Brew Coffee

This method is very forgiving because it removes most of the more subtle and delicate flavors from coffee. It is best for medium to dark roasts but can be used for light roasts as well, depending on your taste. It yields a sweet, smooth, muted, low-acid flavored coffee. You’ll need measuring cups and spoons, two lidded containers, fine mesh strainer, spoon or tamper, coffee grinder, and cheesecloth.

  1. To brew 48 oz of coffee, measure 4 ¾ cups coarsely ground beans.
  2. Stir coffee grounds and 6 cups of good quality, fresh, room-temperature water together in a lidded container.
  3. Steep at room temperature for 10-24 hours.
  4. Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth, and strain the coffee into another container, pressing the grounds with a spoon or tamper to encourage draining.
  5. Discard the grounds.
  6. Store the concentrate in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  7. Most cold brew drinkers serve it over ice with sweetener and cream. If you don’t know how strong you like your cold brew, start with a 4:1 ration of water and/or cream to concentrate. Adjust from there, and enjoy!

Percolator Coffee

This method is popular because it requires very little. It is best for medium grinds, which prevents too many grounds from getting in the finished product. It produces a strong, somewhat bitter (depending on your percolating skill) coffee. You will need a percolator, measuring spoons, coffee grinder, and a heat source.

  1. Put the desired amount of good quality, fresh water in the percolator.
  2. Measure approximately 1 Tbsp grounds per 8 oz water (adjust to your preference) into the filter basket.
  3. Insert the brewing system and place the lid on the percolator.
  4. Heat the water slowly, and watch for the “perk” (splash of coffee) in the globe on top.
  5. Once you see a perk, reduce the heat. Your goal is one perk every two to three seconds. If your coffee is filling up the globe, it is too hot; reduce the heat.
  6. Brew your coffee for about five minutes. Adjust this time according to your preferred brew strength.

Remove the filter basked and brewing mechanism before pouring. Enjoy!

Electric Drip Coffee

This method is popular because it is easy! Since there are important factors you cannot control with an electric drip machine, control what you can to get the best quality coffee possible: use 1) good quality water, 2) high quality beans, 3) the proper grind, and 4) a gold-tone filter. A drip machine can yield a consistent and delicious cup of coffee, but pay attention to the taste of the finished product and adjust your grind accordingly. An over-brewed coffee (too fine a grind) will have a hollow and bitter taste. An under-brewed coffee (too coarse a grind) will have an acidic and sour taste. You will need an electric drip coffee maker, measuring spoons, coffee grinder, and a gold-toned filter.

  1. Before using an electric drip machine for the first time, clean all removable parts with a mild dish soap. Run water only through its first brew cycle, then discard the water.
  2. Use medium grind beans (consistency of kosher salt) at a ratio of 2 Tbsp grounds to 8 oz water.
  3. Use a reusable gold-toned filter for maximum flavor extraction.
  4. Some machines, like the Cuisinart DCC 3200 have features like a charcoal water filter, a carafe temperature setting (to prevent scorching your coffee), a brew strength control, and a setting to adjust the machine for brewing small amounts of coffee. All these features improve the quality product you can get from an electric drip coffee brewer.

There are almost as many ways to brew coffee as there are people who drink it! We have lots of coffee lovers at Big Plate, and our team would love to help you find just what you need to make the perfect morning brew…for YOU!

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